Good dirt, Indian election, new Zealandia continent, Spanish snail festival, evil laugh comp

Jun 6, 2024 Episode 181

Get the dirt on World Environment Day, who won the Indian election, the new Zealandia continent, a snail-eating festival in Spain and an evil competition in NY

Episode Transcript


LEELA: This week… dirt is good, the Indian election, a new continent is mapped, and the evil laugh championship.

OPENING STING – LEELA: “Hey, hey, hey. Listen up. New, new, newsy – Newsy Pooloozi!”


LEELA: Hello and welcome to Newsy Pooloozi – the news pool for curious kids and adults!

I’m your host Leela Sivasankar Prickitt and, as ever, I’m joined by the big story explainer and sound effects finder – otherwise known as my… mama!

MAMA: Hello, hello. I’m also called Lyndee Prickitt. And boy, do we have a PACKED show before we take a break for the summer…

It’s World Environment Day – and that means – dirt is good. No, really. Stay tuned and we’ll tell you how and why…

Plus, results are in from the biggest election ever held on Earth – yes, we’re talking about the six-week-long Indian election.

And think you know your continents? Well, is Zealandia on your list? It should be as scientists map and study a newly discovered continent. We have a special report from “down under.” And I’m not talking about Australia.

Also, feeling hungry? How do snails sound? Well, they love them so much in Spain that around 15,000 people gather for a competition to… well, you’ve gotta listen on to find out what!

And finally – think you have a scary laugh? Think again.


Okay maybe mama does. But it’s some New Yorkers who decided to put their evil laugh to the test. You gotta listen to the end to hear the best!

Alright. Let’s dive on in. First up, it’s the…

BIG NEWS STORY STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “The big news story of the week!”

MAMA: Happy World Environment Day all you Newsies!

LEELA: That’s right! Today, June 5th, is officially World Environment Day, the U.N. designated holiday where everyone ON the planet is supposed to think about ways to SAVE the planet!

MAMA: You got it. And it’s not to be confused with plain old Earth Day, which is celebrated in April.

LEELA: April 22 to be precise. And if you want to know more about that then please have a listen to our Episode 95 from a couple years ago where we give you the whole history.

MAMA: Thank you for that. So, World Environment Day is a little bit more like a summit or meeting. There are a bunch of government officials, businesses people and scientists who get together to talk about ways to fight climate change.

LEELA: This year, I believe the meeting is in Saudi Arabia?

MAMA: Right! There are actually 143 countries which participate in World Environment Day.

LEELA: Wow, considering there are 195 officially recognized countries in the world – 143 is a good turn out!

MAMA: That’s right. Almost three-quarters. And each year this meeting is held in a different country and with a different theme.

LEELA: And this year’s theme would be….??

MAMA: Well, I’m so glad you asked! It’s a topic I’m super interested in after watching that Netflix doc Kiss the Ground.

LEELA: Oh, I loved that one. Told us poopping cows weren’t as bad as we thought!

MAMA: That’s right among other things! There’s a much worse problem and one that can be more easily fixed.

LEELA: Dirt. That’s what I mostly remember that dirt is good. Well, good dirt or soil. I’m not talking dust.

MAMA: You got it. So, Kiss the Ground is all about how regenerative agriculture can help save the planet.

LEELA: Regenerative means regrowth or renew, right?

MAMA: Yep.

LEELA: And agriculture, of course, means farming.

MAMA: It’s about sustainable agriculture, which means recycling as much farm waste as possible and improving topsoil conditions – as in the top layer of dirt and soil. And, and, and… not over-farming.

LEELA: Which means giving fields a chance to rest after they’ve grown something, right?

MAMA: Right, because that will ensure that the natural minerals and nutrients in the soil have a chance to build back up, so that when a crop is eventually planted there all that goodness can go back into the crop.

LEELA: As in into the potato, pumpkin, broccoli, strawberries or whatever you are growing, which means it goes into our bellies and gives us more nutrition.

MAMA: Correct. And I like that you listed a variety of produce there. Because monocropping is not great at all for the environment.

LEELA: Wait – mono as in one, right? So, you mean a farm that only grows one things, like only corn or only wheat or rice is not good?

MAMA: Right. Totally. Too much of a single plant in one field – or even a single type of livestock in one big area – depletes the soil of its nutrients.

LEELA: Deplete?

MAMA: Yeah. Takes away.


MAMA: Well, think about it – what’s YOUR favorite healthy feel-good food?

LEELA: Ummm, Strawberry, Carrots well apples too.

MAMA: OK – you like variety and that’s good. But let’s say you only liked strawberries. And only ate strawberries from the family fridge. So much that you ate them all. And no one else in the family could eat any of those strawberries. You’d be depleting the fridge of the strawberries. Same with the same crops or animals they all have their favorite nutrients they need and monocropping means –

LEELA: They suck out or deplete that one kind of nutrient.

MAMA: Thats right. That’s what they do, they suck it out. And that means also sucking out the varieties of bacteria and microorganisms that are needed to maintain fertility of the soil.

LEELA: And that eventually results in turning the soil into dusty wasteland, like a desert, as in desertification, right?

MAMA: In very simple terms, yes. Or just more generally we could say land degradation.

LEELA: Wow… So not only is it bad from a nutrition point of view as in our food isn’t getting those nutrients, but it’s also bad for the environment. I mean green lush land sucks up carbon from the air, but not arid deserts.

MAMA: That’s right. We need that green land. And that’s whybiodiversity is the buzz word.

LEELA: Like diversity in farming? Like multi-cropping?

MAMA: Also called intercropping or polyculture. And this World Environment Day is also about trying to inspire farmers to embrace “regenerative agriculture” and land restoration to stop desertification.

LEELA: So, what about those of us who aren’t farmers? What can we do?

MAMA: Lots of things! For all you newsies with home gardens, be sure to add compost – which means decaying organic matter, like teabags and banana peels! – to your soil.

LEELA: But what if you live in the middle of a city with no garden?

MAMA: You can still do things to help the soil.

LEELA: Like?

MAMA: Recycle! Of course. And limit your plastic use! And harsh, excessive chemicals that you find them in cleaning liquids and some beauty products.

LEELA: Because we don’t want that stuff in our soil.

MAMA: Right again!

LEELA: So, hey, thanks for dishing out the dirt on that one…

MAMA: Ha ha – my pleasure. I hope I “dug up” enough facts for you.

LEELA: Good one. But I think we better stop now or might start talking… muck…

[SOURCE: https://www.worldenvironmentday.global/about/theme-host



MAMA: Ha ha… never! And now… The world’s largest democracy voted in the biggest election ever held on earth.

LEELA: That would be us here in India.

MAMA: Indeed. And when we say the largest election on earth, we’re talking 970 million people!

LEELA: That’s almost a billion people! Wow… No wonder it took six weeks.

MAMA: You heard her correctly, folks. In most countries an election takes place in a single day.

LEELA: But when you have an eighth of humanity going to vote… you gotta take some time.

MAMA: Six weeks.


MAMA: The ballots were all counted and the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party

LEELA: Otherwise called the BJP.

MAMA: Yep. They are back in power.

LEELA: That’s Prime Minister Modi’s party, right?

MAMA: Right.

LEELA: So, Modi is back.

MAMA: Right, but not with the majority he was hoping for…

LEELA: So, what does that mean?

MAMA: Well, that the BJP didn’t get enough parliamentary seats to be a majority. And in India they have way more than just two parties, like in the US.

LEELA: So, the BJP will have to form an alliance with another party, right? What’s the other word for that again?

MAMA: A coalition. And it can be with more than one party. Sometimes it’s with lots of small little parties as long as they all combine their winning seats together to make a majority.

LEELA: I see. And that’s what’s happening right now, right?

MAMA: Yep, lots of discussions, debates and negotiations going on right now in India’s halls of power to see who will be in the National Democratic Alliance.

LEELA: Dun-dun-duhhhhhnnnnnnn!

MAMA: Yes… But what’s funny is for the past few years lots of people have been worried about the state of democracy in India – that Modi was too popular and there was a threat of him taking too much control.

LEELA: Well, not anymore! I guess India’s democracy is alive and kicking!

MAMA: You said it!

[SOURCE: https://www.thehindu.com/elections/


MAMA: And now, Leela, how many continents are there on planet Earth?

LEELA: That’s easy, seven.

MAMA: That’s what we’ve all been taught. A continent can be a single landmass such as Africa and Australia or a part of a very large landmass, like North and South America, Asia and Europe.

LEELA: And don’t forget about Antarctica.

MAMA: That’s right. But that’s not all.

LEELA: Excuse me?

MAMA: There’s more.

LEELA: More?? More continents?

MAMA: Singular – ONE more continent to add to the list, yes.

LEELA: Uhhhh… how does that even happen?

MAMA: Well, it’s not something that’s happened it’s something that’s been discovered in the South Pacific Ocean way down by New Zealand and that’s next to Australia in case you didn’t know and now scientists are mapping this newly discovered continent and learning more and more about it.

LEELA: Oh, tell me more!

MAMA: Well, actually one of our new correspondents from New Zealand Louis Williams, has this story.

LEELA: OK then. Over to you, Louis!

LOUIS: Thanks, guys!

Yes, most people believe we have seven continents.

But what if I told you there’s actually an eighth continent submerged in the deep dark depths of the South Pacific Ocean – right here, in and around New Zealand.

Allow me to introduce Zealandia, otherwise called, Te Riu-a-Māui, in the language of the indigenous Māui people.

Now, you may be thinking where this kooky continental crust came from.

Well, in the mid-1990’s the American oceanographer and geophysicist Bruce P. Luyendyk suggested Zealandia had formed around 80 million years ago.

That’s when it broke off from the supercontinent, Gondwana, and slowly slipped under the sea.

As it turns out, Bruce was exactly right.

Fast-forward to 2017 when a New Zealand-led group of scientists announced the discovery of Zealandia, a hidden landmass deep beneath the Pacific Ocean.

Zealandia is now the first continent to be fully mapped to its undersea borders.

It’s an area that’s almost 5 million square kilometres, which is twice the size of Greenland and almost two-thirds the size of Australia.

Crucially, it’s completely separated from Australia by what’s called the Cato trough.

Now, should YOU wish to visit the world’s most recently discovered continent there’s just one major obstacle: most of it is underwater.

Only 6% is actually above water.

Which is smaller than the U.S. state of Montana but does include us here in New Zealand, so let’s not call it insignificant!

But…seeing that a 2021 study suggested Zealandia could be up to 1 billion years old… maybe New Zealand should be called Old Zealand?

In Wellington, New Zealand, this is Louis Williams, reporting for Newsy Poooloozi.

LEELA: Thanks a lot, Louis! Welcome to the Newsy Pooloozi team! We look forward to more stories down under!

[SOURCE: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/premium/article/the-lost-continent-of-zealandia-has-been-mapped-for-the-first-time https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a45226285/eighth-continent-zealandia-mapped/]

ACE STING – LEELA/MAMA: “Now it’s the ace part of our podcast: Arts, Culture and Entertainment. Darling.”

LEELA: Food, glorious food. Today’s ACE story is about food because culture for sure includes what kind of food you eat.

MAMA: You got that right! Food is how people communicate. It’s a love language. It’s a pillar of history and culture, and I would like to remind everyone that while something may be super deeeelicous to you, in another part of the world, it may be seeing as down-right disgusting.

LEELA: Well, there IS something that people in Spain eat… actually, come to think of it, people in a lot of places eat it… that might seem weird to some people… drumroll please….


LEELA: Yes, I’m talking about… SNAILS!

MAMA: Ah ha! You might have heard it as “escargot,” as they’re called in French. And you’re right they are VERY popular in Spain. In fact, every year, there’s a snail festival in a town just outside Barcelona, they love it that much.

LEELA: Oh, oh, oh… This sounds like a story for our Spanish correspondents, Nina and Marcky Granena. Take it away guys!

NINA: Thanks, Leela.  So yes, every year in Lleida, about 200 kilometres east of Barcelona, people hold a festival called l’alpec de cargol.

MARCKY: That’s Catalan for “Snail gathering”. And to be honest, I personally, am one of those people who thinks eating snails is WEIRD.

NINA: Well, here in Catalonia, my dear brother, you’re kinda alone on that one. Snails are deeeelicious!

And there are more than 200,000 people who went to l’alpec de caragol who agree with me.

MARCKY: I mean, I love my people and all. But honestly…. snails, like, crawl. On the ground. It’s just too bug-like for me.

NINA: But grilled to perfection, with lots of salt and alioli…

MARCKY: Also known as “garlic meh-nez”

NINA: Yes! And you take a little toothpick and dig out that little bite of goodness. Mmmmmmm.

MARCKY: Ughhhhh. Really, for me, the best part about ’alpec de caragol would be the social aspect. Everyone just hangs out for the day in these tents and chills out, listens to music. That kind of thing.

NINA: For SURE that’s great. But….again. It’s all about the snails, bro. In fact, this year, they broke a record with some 15 tons of snails! So, unless you’re packing like a ham sandwich in your pocket, this might not be the festival for you.

Come to think of it… better also avoid the festival in Malagá. La fiesta de Conejo.

MARCKY: Rabbit festival?!?! UGHHHHHHHH…

BOTH: In Barcelona this is Nina Granena and Marcky Granena for Newsy Pooloozi!

LEELA: Ha! Thanks guys. And I know what you’re talking about. For me, eating a cat, like they do in Vietnam sometimes, is just like, a hard no!

MAMA: For me it’s dog – the hotdog.

LEELA: Hmmm, not sure that counts, Mama.

MAMA: Ahhh. Why not? Do you have any idea how those things are made what they put in it? Shudder to think.

[SOURCE: https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20240529-a-new-record-at-the-worlds-biggest-snail-eating-festival




LEELA: And finally, let’s see what the lucky dip machine has for us this week.

ODDBALL STING – VARIOUS VOICES: “Step right up, step right up… Have a go at the lucky dip machine… What’s it gonna be today, eh? An oddball, no doubt!”

LEELA: So, even though its only June, today’s oddball has a bit of a Halloween feeling to it.

MAMA: Oh, do you say?

LEELA: Yep. Because this story is about a contest in Brooklyn, New York to see who has the most wicked… the most sinister… and most evil…

MAMA Yes? Yes? Evil what? Evil spell? Evil potion? Evil Kanievel?

LEELA: Oh, mother. No. No, it’s a contest for the most evil… laugh!

MAMA: Evil laugh?

LEELA: Yeah, you know like… Muahahahahahaha.

MAMA: Ooooh. Though you mean Muahahahahahaha.

LEELA: Okay like that.

MAMA: That certainly IS more Halloween than “school’s out for summer,” but, OK, let’s go with it. So, I guess so a contest to see who has the most-evil laugh?

LEELA: That’s right. And, boy, were there some good ones.


LEELA: That was Ellijah Mussig with a high pitched, almost witch-like laugh.

MAMA: Oh man. Yes, that one kinda reminds me of the Wicked Witch of the East!

LEELA: Or this one from Evan Lazarus


MAMA: Ok, now, that one is saying, “I just had the worst day of my life and also I might be trying to get rid of you!”

LEELA: Right? A little deranged… But let’s hear who won this thing.


LEELA: Her name is Ena Da. She’s a writer who lives in Brooklyn, and yeah, I’d agree, hers was the best.

MAMA: For sure! That range! She starts out so deep. I can’t help but think of Dr. Eviiiiil from Austin Powers.

LEELA: What?

MAMA: Ohhh sorry a movie from twenty years ago you are too young

LEELA: Anyway, the event organizers say it was a hit, so who knows…?!

MAMA: Yes, yes. Maybe one day, here at Newsy Pooloozi we will resuscitate this story, you know like… back from the dead, dragging it out of the dark archives for a Newsy Pooloozi Halloween replay! It’s alive! Muahahahahahaha!!!

LEELA: Oh my gosh. I’ve created a monster.

MAMA: Oh yeah, And not for the first time my darling. Muahahahahaha!!

[SOURCE: https://www.nytimes.com/2024/05/18/style/evil-laugh-contest-brooklyn.html?unlocked_article_code=1.vE0.p0Vl.9ypdSYjXPhd0&smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare&sgrp=c-cb]

FAB FACTS STING – LEELA: “And it’s time to wrap up the podcast with the top five fab facts heard today. Here goes…”

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 1 – World Environment Day happens every June 5th and is a little bit more like a summit or meeting than the awareness-raising Earth Day, which is on what day?

April 22nd

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 2 – There are 143 countries that participate in World Environment Day. That’s nearly three-quarters of all the countries in the world. Officially, how many countries are there in the world?


MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 3 – Diversity in farming is super important to maintain healthy soil. What is that called?

Multi-cropping, intercropping and polyculture

LEELA: FAB FACT NUMBER 4 – The world’s largest democracy India goes to the polls. How many people were eligible to vote this year?

970 million

MAMA: FAB FACT NUMBER 5 – India’s Bhartiya Janta Party failed to get enough parliamentary seats to form a majority government, meaning they will have to form an alliance with other parties in order to rule. What’s another word for alliance?


And don’t forget, if you want to test yourself later on, then go to the Lucky Dip page of our website,  newsypooloozi.com, that’s pool-o-o-z-i, and take this quiz online in your own time!

MAMA: And now its time for us to talk about well ourselves

LEELA: People be nice with us

MAMA: Seriously nice, you guys has sent some amazing reviews in the last few weeks apologies for not reading them earlier but oh my goodness from Guamgirlie13 she says

LEELA: Love it. You go…

MAMA: And thank you for gave us five stars and titled her review you are amaze. And we also had from RainbowKids436

LEELA: Hi, I have listened a year and I love your podcast. You guys are great, and you explain stuff so well. Thank you…

MAMA: Thank you very much. And hold on we gonna scroll up here and we got one from PaulZFP and Paul says

LEELA: Solomon my son age eight and Paul dad middle age adore diving into the news pool while driving around our little island in the Puget sound. Solly’s favourite segment Around The World in 80 seconds. He loves hearing what’s happening outside of the United States. Paul loves the oddball no doubt stories from the lucky dip machine and holds the special place for the worst, best puns and the word plays. Keep up the great work team. Thank you.

MAMA: That is so amazing I can’t tell you guys you know the end of like long season we are really ready for summer break and this just

LEELA: Making our day. Making our summer

MAMA: Making our summer. And makes us wanna come back after the break and give you more so thank you very much.

LEELA: Thank you.


LEELA: And that brings us to the end of this episode of Newsy Pooloozi! We’ll be taking a bit of a break for the next couple months for summer.

MAMA: Yes, indeed. Of course, do dive into our archive. Don’t think of it as old news, because many of our stories are pretty timeless.

LEELA: And you’ll always learn something. Well, I do!

MAMA: So, I actually. And we hope to be bringing you some other podcasts to sample over the summer, so stay tuned for that too.

LEELA: Otherwise, we’ll see you back in August!

LEELA: We would like to thank the lovely Jyoti Chauhan for her production help and Julie Noce for helping write this episode!

MAMA: And, hey, over your summer holiday why don’t you tell a friend or cousin about us?

LEELA: Yeah, imagine the cool conversations you can have about evil laughs, good dirt and yummy snails!!

MAMA: That’s So true! A very very conversations

LEELA: OK, folks. Have a great summer! And stay curious!

MAMA: And worldly

LEELA: More from us in August when we’ll jump back into the giant, happy, splashy Newsy Pooloozi!